Friday, February 11, 2005

Paul Motian w/ Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano – I Have the Room Above Her (ECM, 2005)

This trio has been working together for over twenty years, nominally under Motian's leadership, but the musicianship has grown so tight and nearly telepathic that it's not a matter of ego to list all three names on the cover of the compact disc, it is entirely appropriate. This is a quiet record with all Motian original songs except for the title track. The music shies away from any flash and stark highs and lows, instead focusing on a series of meditations of the shadows and shades of grey which are available in composition and improvisation.

Lovano sounds right at home with the slower tempos, coming off of his ballad album of last year, and Motian who is a veteran of the classic Bill Evans trio among countless other ensembles has the patience and experience to shine at this tempo. He can speak volumes with a gentle brush stroke or soft cymbal playing. This spare, open atmosphere brings out some of the jazziest playing in a long time from Bill Frisell. Without his usual array of electronics (although some are used), he gets a spare and graceful tone, still steeped in Americana and uniquely his own. This is a disc that needs to be listened to and lived with for a while for the music to sink in, but the effort is worth it to hear three master improvisers communicating in a state of almost Zen state of egoless bliss.

Send comments to: Tim